West Coast Cannabis Groups Band Together To Protect Interests

Jan 17, 2018
Originally published on January 18, 2018 6:31 am

Cannabis trade associations in Oregon, Washington and California are banding together to “protect West Coast cannabis interests.”

Earlier this month, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded what was known as the Cole Memo. It was an Obama-era legal memo that allowed states to legalize cannabis with minimal interference from federal authorities.

Amy Margolis with the Oregon Cannabis Association said they were planning to join forces with other West Coast associations before the memo was rescinded. “But this certainly accelerated our timeline and made this announcement even more important.”

“With all of the West Coast states having legalized adult-use cannabis, our organizations strongly believe that we must move towards a collaborative process to ensure that we maximize our political power, offer our members the most comprehensive benefits possible and stand together against existential federal threats,” said Margolis.

The three associations will share strategies for legalizing marijuana at the federal level. Margolis said they have three main goals: “One, to share strategy and information. Two, to share resources when it’s appropriate. And three, to put forward a united front to the federal government.”

The group says it plans to coordinate lobbying efforts. So instead of 40 Oregonians visiting Washington, D.C., a trip might involve 100 advocates from up and down the West Coast.

“With more than 1,000 combined business members, who collectively employ thousands and generate millions and millions in tax revenue, represented by this new relationship, we will be the largest and most powerful voice for the West Coast,” said Lindsay Robinson from the California Cannabis Industry Association.

Oregon Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer called the initiative an exciting, important and historic development.

"Responsible leaders in the industry working together is exactly how we will change destructive and nonsensical federal policies and set things right," he said.

Sessions says marijuana is a dangerous drug and dealing it is a serious crime.

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